HOW POLITICIANS and government officials acted during the 2013 super typhoon Yolanda which flattened Tacloban city and most of the central Philippines remains a crucial part for voters in choosing their candidates this May 2016 elections, according to a new regional political party in Eastern Visayas.
“It is very important for our voters to make sure that this upcoming election will be defined by what happened during typhoon Yolanda,” said Jude Acidre, first nominee of Tingog Sinirangan party-list.
“What happened before, during and after has become the ultimate test for our political leadership. In choosing our next leaders, it is important to ask, who where there? Who were the ones nowhere to be found? Instead of the help, leadership and compassion we expected from those who said and promised to champion us, we were snubbed,” Acidre added.
According to Acidre, typhoon Yolanda, which killed over 6,000 people in Tacloban and nearby towns in Leyte, has become “an issue of political integrity.”
“We were ignored. We were betrayed. We expected them to speak for us, but they remained silent. When we were sidelined, they chose to stand with their political allies rather than the people they promised to represent,” he added.
Acidre however didn’t mention particular politicians or officials in his statement.
“Where were they when we needed them most? Why? When they were not in our time of greatest need, how can we trust them to lead our region out of poverty?” Acidre asked.
Acidre, a known community-leader in Eastern Visayas, appealed to the public, saying that “if we want change, all we need to do is look back at what happened two years ago and define our choice.”
Acidre said that by looking back, voters can see politicians and leaders who were found wanting during the difficult times of their lives.
“We need to stand with our people who day-in and day-out have to live life surviving. That is why we want to be the voice of our people, a voice that beyond promises will work to give hope, that beyond posturing, real action. Our voice will be no one else but yours,” he said.
Acidre who was working in Manila during the height of the typhoon led massive relief works to the region through the International Emergency and Development Aid (IEDA), a humanitarian organization which he served as former country director.